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Move over New York Fashion Week. Check out this Macon fashion show, with a cultural twist

Fashion show celebrates Latino and American culture in Middle Georgia

Dozens of people gathered at the Monarca Ballroom in Macon on May 4, for the first fashion show organized by Latina women in Middle Georgia. All of the models were students at 2911 Modeling Academy, a new modeling school for girls in Warner Robins.
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Dozens of people gathered at the Monarca Ballroom in Macon on May 4, for the first fashion show organized by Latina women in Middle Georgia. All of the models were students at 2911 Modeling Academy, a new modeling school for girls in Warner Robins.

On Saturday, May 4, dozens of people gathered at the Monarca Ballroom in Macon for the first fashion show organized by Latina women in Middle Georgia.

All of the models were students at 2911 Modeling Academy, a new modeling school for girls in Warner Robins.

The event was a team effort, planned by local Latina business women from Venezuela, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The planning committee comprised Mónica Pirela, the producer and anchor of the Spanish-language news show; Larissa Rowland, a local publicist; Myriam Hernández, the owner of the Monarca Ballroom; Ana Hernández, founder of the Hispanic women’s empowerment group De Mujer a Mujer; and Nicole Monserrat, modeling coach and owner of 2911 Modeling Academy.

The Telegraph spoke with the organizers of the fashion show shortly before the models took the runway. The following interview was conducted in Spanish and has been translated and edited for clarity.

Samantha Max: Who are you and what’s happening today?

Larissa Rowland: We’re a group of Hispanic women that have organized all of this so that the girls that are going to model feel more beautiful and confident in themselves.

Ana Hernández: We’re proud that this event has been organized by Latina women. We want the same thing, which is to empower our young girls and Latina women.

Myriam Hernández: It’s an honor to stand next to these women. I’ve learned so much from them, and we hope to continue this in the future.

SM: How did you prepare for the event?

Nicole Monserrat: The preparation was a little bit long. Thank God, everything went really well...Everything has been really exciting.

SM: What inspired this event?

Mónica Pirela: We’re Hispanic small business owners...We all work in different arenas, but, when we come together, look at what can happen. That’s the idea — to show that, working in a team, even though we’re from different cultures, we’ve come together really well and everything has gone as it should.

AH: That’s the idea, that when we believe that there’s power in unity...We’re combining this power because together we can bring to the community something of value and something that will benefit them, too. And to all of us as people, too, because our priority is the community — not just each person. And it’s important to see that — that in unity there’s power. When we bring together everyone’s ability, everyone’s talent, we can achieve so many things together.

SM: What message do you hope this event will send?

MP: One of the most important messages is security and belief in your origins. It’s good to have a mix of cultures...Our children’s pride in our culture starts with events. This type of event is a lot of things. They’re listening to music in Spanish, we’re speaking in Spanish to the girls. The way that we’re managing the event also does more to reinforce the values and traditions of, in this case, Hispanic women.

LR: Aside from that, trying to do it in two languages, English and Spanish, so that we can unite the American part with the Hispanic cultures.

SM: Why is it important to have events like this to unite the Hispanic community in Middle Georgia?

AH: I think it’s important because we have to show that, together, we can overcome the stereotypes that others want to put on us. We’re hardworking, we’re fighters that came to this country in pursuit of a dream to strengthen our families, to strengthen the values — not just of the Hispanic culture, but also to support the American values. Because once you’re in this country, we’re part of the United States.

NM: I would say the same. We’re here, we’re Hispanic. This isn’t the Venezuelan and the Mexican. We’re one. And that’s what we want to teach and what we want everyone to know — that we’re Hispanic, we’re families, we give a lot of love and care and strength, also, in everything we do.

Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member and reports for The Telegraph with support from the News/CoLab at Arizona State University. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/smax1996 and on Twitter @samanthaellimax. You can also join her Facebook group. Learn more about Report for America at www.reportforamerica.org.

Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member and reports for The Telegraph with support from the News/CoLab at Arizona State University. She joined The Telegraph in June of 2018 and reports on the health of the community. Samantha graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2018. As an undergraduate student, she interned for the Medill Justice Project, Hoy (Chicago Tribune’s Spanish-language publication) and NPR-affiliate station WYPR in her hometown of Baltimore. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/smax1996 and on Twitter @samanthaellimax. You can also join her Facebook group. Learn more about Report for America at www.reportforamerica.org.
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